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La Cienega Area

THE ART GALLERIES

October 16, 1987|Suzanne Muchnic

Picasso and Chagall, now there's a pair. A small show of graphics only offers a limited glimpse of their oeuvres, but it reminds us how much they have meant to modern art and how different their personalities were. True to mythical form, Picasso comes off as a prodigious worker, a lover and a reveler who seemed to exude art from his pores. While his talent for drawing realistic, distorted and abstract figures is clear in 13 prints and ceramic plates from 1934 to 1977, the personages occasionally explode into flurries of line and electrified pattern.

By contrast, Chagall is a softie, as we see in 11 lithographs and etchings from 1931 to 1969. The nervous energy of Picasso's touch is supplanted by fluffy cloud forms and domestic fantasies. Chagall's late work went flaccid, but the magic of his memories of a bucolic Russia happily dominate these graphics. Who else has convinced us that an accordionist could ride a bird through the summer sky or that a peasant had time for snoozes under a tree and dreams of his floating wife and baby? (Adam Mekler Gallery, 651 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Nov. 15.)

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